Comment: The real reason cycle lanes are always empty


I’m not a cyclist. I don’t own a bike and I hate the feeling of Lycra . I drive my car over offensively short distances sometimes and I’m unapologetically lazy about walking to the shops.

My only bias is being a big fan of whatever makes moving around Auckland a bit easier because, as anyone who’s spent more than a few hours in the 09 knows, getting around in Auckland can be a goddamn nightmare.

There’s a surprisingly simple reason cycle lanes are so empty and, despite the loud naysayers, it’s not because no one uses them. Cycle lanes are often empty because they are so efficient. Your cycling workmates are already at work, showered and ready to start annoying someone with some kind of annoyingly accurate stat about their carbon footprint . Meanwhile, you (and me) are still sitting at the stupid traffic lights on the motorway onramp.

For every negative statistic you can find for bike lanes, I can find you 27 worse ones for cars and buses.

Public transport in Auckland is a complete shambles. I have lost count at the number of times I’ve had to pay for a taxi ride home or call someone asking if they could pick me up because the bus that was supposed to take me home after a late shift didn’t show up.

The reality is: people who want a reason to complain about something, will always find one. If cycle lanes were always congested, with queues of cyclists trying to make their way into and out of town (the bloody cheek of these people), people would slam them as inefficient. Because cycle lanes are always empty, they slam them as ” useless ” .

I’m never going to ride my bike to or from work. That sounds exhausting and, honestly, I don’t want to deal with helmet hair. But I love cycleways. I love the fact that they take cars off the motorway and make my journey slightly easier. I love that I can annoy cyclists by going for runs along them with my headphones on so I can’t hear them when they come whizzing by and shouting “on your riiiiiight!”. I love that they’re a safe way to get around. I like knowing that a city like Auckland, with no subway and a very limited train network, is building a cycle network worth being proud of.

“But the cycleway takes away carparks right on the main street!” Yeah, ok, Karen. I never find any parking on the main street anyway so you can be like me and go park on a side street and walk the rest of the way. I don’t know anyone who’s ever stopped going somewhere they needed or wanted to go to just because there was no guarantee of a carpark right outside that door.

And as for the numbers and the forecasts and the complicated maths, I don’t actually care and I don’t think you should either. No one is counting how many people use the designated car parks for parents in my local supermarket. We all just agree that, regardless of whether two people or 200 people use them, it’s important to have them. No one cares how many people visit any of the local parks near you. No one is going to say “Only 217 people a month go to that park, shall we just knock it down a build a carpark?”. We just leave them be, because they’re important pieces of infrastructure for a liveable city. So why are we so uptight about tracking down how many people use a cycleway? Why does it matter?

We can’t be the city we want to be in 50 years if we don’t start working towards it now. Imagine if 50 years ago we’d built a subway network underground? We’d all be getting in and out of Auckland so much faster these days, instead of clogging up the motorways on this seemingly day-long rush hour we live in. We can’t be short-sighted and assume that, because not many of us will use it now, it’s not worth investing in.

There’ll always be people unhappy about fewer cars on the road (think petrol companies, mechanics) and it’s naïve to assume there is anything out there in the world that will ever be unanimously and universally loved . Of all things to hate, cycleways should be really low on your list. So low that, by the time you get to get angry about it, you might actually realise they were a great idea all along.

I’m not here to tell you what to do, but since it already sounds exactly like that’s what I’m doing, I suggest you leave the cycleway alone and start getting upset at things worth getting angry about, like the price of milk and cheese in a country full of cows.

NZ Herald

James Bulger killer Robert Thompson had a ‘better life’ because of murder

The father of James Bulger last night reacted with fury after one of the toddler’s killers admitted he had enjoyed a “better life” as a result of being locked up for a crime which shocked the United Kingdom.

Robert Thompson also said he had benefitted from “a better education” during eight years in a secure unit after he and Jon Venables were convicted of murdering the 2-year-old, a documentary to screen tonight in the UK reveals.

When the 10-year-olds abducted and killed James in Bootle, Merseyside, in February 1993, serial truant Thompson was by his own admission “completely out of control… committing crime and causing trouble”.After almost a decade of intensive attention at Barton Moss secure unit in Manchester, he told a Parole Board considering his application to be freed that his time being held in the unit had brought huge benefits.

In papers revealed in a documentary to be broadcast on Channel 5 tonight, Thompson says: “I do feel aware that I am now a better person and have had a better life and a better education than if I had not committed the murder.

“There is obviously an irony to this but it is part of my remorseful feelings as well.”

But last night James’s father Ralph said the confession confirmed what he and James’s mother Denise had long believed – that Thompson and Venables had been rewarded rather than punished for the crime.

“For 25 years I have insisted that Thompson and Venables have been rewarded not punished for murdering my baby son,” Bulger, 51, told the Daily Mail.

“The message here is horrific – kill a child and you will get a privileged and cosy life in return.

“I have always said that these pair have never been punished at all.”

The cost of locking up the two killers was put at £2.5 million in 2001, when they were released on licence.

“When these two were still locked up they went without nothing,” Bulger added.

“They got a first class education, counsellors and therapists while James’s family was thrown to the wolves with our grief. It terrifies me that this sends out a message that you can commit a crime as heinous as killing James and get away with it.”

Thompson told the Parole Board he had lied about his involvement after being overwhelmed by the public revulsion to their crime.

But he insisted he was now “deeply ashamed… of having played a part in this horrible murder”.

However Bulger continued to reject Thompson’s claim to be remorseful.

“Their false words mean nothing to me,” he said. “They might have hoodwinked the Parole Board and the do-gooders who let them out but they will never deceive me.”

Thompson, now 35, has managed to stay out of trouble since being released with a new identity in 2001.

However, Venables is in jail for the second time for downloading child pornography.

NZ Herald

Why elderly people require home care?

When your loved ones are growing older then that person will start to experience different sort of changes in their body be it emotional, physical or mental. During such time they are more dependent on the other people for minimum assistance.

So if you are unable to provide that constant care and attention that is needed for monitoring their health then it is the right time when you should consider hiring aged home care services. Some the reasons why it can be beneficial are stated below:


  • If an elder person is not healthy from within then they will not appreciate the idea of living at a place which is not their home for getting several caregivers and constant services. If you are taking them away from the natural atmosphere which they get in their house then they will show the cognitive decline and their health will start deteriorating. So by providing them in-home care, you are making them stay at their personal space with their belongings and neighbors along with their family members.


  • If you see that your loved ones are becoming weak day by day then you can hire the caregivers who will monitor their entire nutrition and needs. They will go to the grocery shopping and keep on feeding the person with nutritious food that will help in boosting their health. These home care services will also offer with the preparation of the meal and providing it to the time to time. In this way, the person can develop stronger bones, better memory, and many more health benefits.


  • Due to cognitive decline, the senior people are unable to perform all the minimal household work. So you can provide them with the assistance which will help them to clean up the messes, spills and all the dirty places and remove the unwanted odors so that they can live in a clean and hygienic atmosphere.
  • If the person is recovering from any surgical procedure or illness, then it is an important decision to keep them at home and provide them with all the care that they need. You will need to hire qualified professionals who will provide the person with in-home care so that the elderly person is recovering quickly.
  • There are several seniors who are facing challenging situations due to their health condition. They need constant attention starting from bathing, meal preparation, visiting the doctor to medication reminder and many more.


  • As people start aging they will try to isolate themselves and become a patient of depression and loneliness. So by giving them a caregiver, you are providing them with the companionship who will not only bond with the aged person but also help them to attend several community events or functions.


Before you are hiring a caregiver for your loved ones make sure you are going through their background and looking into their field of specialization. Make sure that the person that you are hiring also has minimum knowledge related to basic first aid and other medical requirements in order to help the old patient during an emergency condition.